Toddler found at scene of Banning triple slaying doing well
Three bodies were found Tuesday inside an apartment on North Phillips Street in the Riverside County city, and the child was found alive but dehydrated, bound and gagged inside the unit with them.
The Riverside Colunty coroner’s office identified the victims Wednesday as Demetrius Hunt, 42; Natasha Biggers, 33; and Cynthia Smith, 57. Hunt and Biggers were the parents of the child; it was unclear what Smith’s relationship was to them.
Banning Police Chief Leonard Purvis said the boy was hydrated and given food at an area hospital Tuesday night before he was released to Child Protective Services.
Deborah Biggers, 50, Natasha Bigger’s mother, said Wednesday that the boy is with her now and doing well. She said her daughter and grandson lived with her but that her daughter was co-parenting the boy with Hunt.
"My daughter was just being a mom to her two kids, and she was a fun-loving person," Deborah Biggers said. “She wasn’t on drugs, and she’ll be greatly missed."
Hunt’s father told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that he believed the killings were related to a drug gang. Purvis said police are looking at that theory, among others.
"It is a possibility but we’re looking at all avenues," he said. Investigators have ruled out murder-suicide, Purvis said.
Hunt had a lengthy criminal record for drug, domestic violence and driving under the influence convictions. Riverside County court records showed Natasha Biggers had a shoplifting conviction.
Deborah Biggers said knew little about Hunt’s activities and did not know what the motive for the killings might have been.
-- Abby Sewell
Photo: Banning police detectives at the scene Tuesday night.
Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times